So Aggravating

I only use the word aggravate to mean “make worse.” When I hear people use it to mean “annoy,” I always, always, always, notice it and make a small mental translation.

But, although this is true, I want you to know that I’m not “correcting.” I’m “translating.” That’s because I know that aggravate has been used to mean annoy for over 300 years and it’s not about to stop doing so any time soon.

I’m translating from standard, fairly legit (if informal) English into my special form of savethesemicolon-speak. So I’m not saying that you’re wrong. I’m just explaining the twitch you see. Yes, I’m talking to you.

[By the way, I make a similar translation when people say “like” to mean “as though,” instead of “similar to”. As in: “She was acting like (-as though-) she was the big queen of the world.” I sometimes use it that way, and when I hear myself do it, I self-translate.]


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